The Thirteenth – Chapter 22 – Death warmed over
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“Cause I still can’t dance,” Bill countered. I finished off my first beer. Yeah, Bill indeed likes watching reality shows, especially anything of the dancing/singing/circus sort. I am convinced he used to be a roadie of something like that in a past life. But for some reason he doesn’t talk about what he did before retiring, even gets quite angry when asked about it.  And that is something I can respect.

“Who’s to say that you’ll even have a chance,” Frank offered, “You might come back as a ghoul considering what you like to eat. or maybe even a bloodsucker.”

He laughed and turned back to me.

“Hey Johnny, your lawyer’s a bloodsucker isn't he?”

I started on my second beer, as Bruce quietly replaced the empty with a full. I nodded to him, and then back at Bill. I was feeling decently lightheaded at that point.

“Yes he is,” I admitted. “Although I'm sure he's a better lawyer than he is a bloodsucker. Seeing him tonight in fact. Because, you know…”

“Guess he doesn’t do bankers hours,” Bill grumbled over the drink cupped in his hands. I haven't seen the either of the old men taken drink since I got to the bar. I wonder how many hours they’d been nursing them.

Bruce was a good sport for letting them stay out of the cold. And even though he doesn’t really get into the conversations I did catch a smirk from him every once in a while. I guess we all get our entertainment where we can. Midday bartending can be a lonely business I remembered from one of my own past lives.

“World changing Bill,” Frank replied, “Gotta keep up with that. Don't you agree Johnny?”

I had now worked my way through a drink and a third, and was quite happy with the buzz I was entertaining. I'll be honest I'm not a big drinker but sometimes the stress gets to me you know. Today was about the worst I’d had in at least a few years.  But I’m not an angry drunk, more of the sleepy kind, thank God.

“I think it makes sense to keep up with things” I told the guys. “You never know what can get dropped in your lap. This city if full of things that can get to you.”

“Like that chiquita in apartment 414,” Bill smiled a wide grin. “When are you going to get me her rental papers, Johnny. I want to know if she’s still single.”

I shook my head. That ‘chiquita’ had to be young enough to be his granddaughter. And she had enough trouble taking care of her disabled daughter to deal with any kind of lecherous octogenarian.  Although I figured that she could easily kick either of these guys asses.

“I think you should stick to women at least half you age Bill,” I told him. “Ones who don’t mind that you take your teeth out a night and can make room for your walker.”

“You going to see your vampire,” Bruce wanted to know showing an odd bit of curiosity as he drifted into the conversation from his side of the mahogany.

“Yes I am, I told him, “and that by you to remember that he's a lawyer. Now as long as everyone's clear here all lawyers are vampires but not all vampires her lawyer's.”

Never fails to get a chuckle from this kind of crowd. And I didn’t mind spreading the joke. First time I ever heard it was from Vaclav himself.

“He may be dead, but he’s certainly confident,” Frank noted, staring back up at the TV. “Our would be mayor is talking about needing two terms to clean up hog town once and for all.”

I looked up at the screen. Sure enough Gavin Worthington was going on about how much time it would take to get T.O. back on track. He had that kind of hypnotizing stare you know, that distracted one from the desiccated skin of his face, solid makeup job notwithstanding. A revenant. Pancreatic cancer had done him ten years back, but he took it in stride. Still, he’d been in council, for what now, thirty years? Of course, it helped his cause, that he’d spent the first twenty alive.

As I pointed out, he’s what is called a revenant, one of the more acceptable of the re-animated, at least according to the polls. All that happens to them is they get more dried out looking as the years go by. Not a lot of people will vote for a vampire or a werewolf, I am sorry to say Teresa. Sure revenants look like death warmed over but they won’t drink your blood or go wild animal three days a month, nor are they as nearly as physically repugnant as a ghoul or a zombie.

Even I had to admire the guy’s work ethic. Five weeks in the hospital on his death bed, and was back to work the day after he rose.

“Ever a vote for the dead guy Johnny,” Bill wanted to know.

I shrugged.

“I don't know yet.  Depends. What does he think about the death tax.”

That elicited another laugh.

“They never should have given the dead to vote,” Frank offered. “They should stay where they belong. In the ground, no matter what.”

That elicited a frown from Bruce. But, hey, like Teresa, he was on the short side of thirty, he’d been living in a re-animated world just about his whole life. I was more on the bubble, and had my own personal biases, so it was easier to take the old guys’ bigotry, echo it a little, understand it.

Bill and Frank, they grew up in the days when the undead were monsters you had to kill. Full stop. They were old enough to have remembered the aftermath of WWII, and the changes that came afterwards. The kind of stuff that we grew up with didn't happen till they was practically middle-aged and set in their ways. It was all still wrong for them for the world to be the way it was, just for the living.

So while you and I are pretty familiar with equal rights for the re-animated, the walking dead, vampires werewolves, even the as yet not quite fully explained gargoyles. Although to be perfectly fair with you I could do without the concrete crappers I had to hire to protect 23 Pangbourne. Again, personal biases not to mention fear of a crushed skull.

The stuff that we read in the history books those two lived through and even if what they say isn’t really acceptable in our enlightened and politically correct society of today. I do like to be reminded, at least on occasion that the world wasn't always like this.  And who know, might get back there someday too,  if I lived that long.

Does that mean it was better? Well, go back and read your history books and think about it. It’s a tougher question than it you probably imagine.

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